University of Tasmania
Stewart_whole_thesis.pdf (1.41 MB)

Managing empire : Romano-Italic relations and the origins of the social war

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:24 authored by Stewart, OJ
Despite the importance of the Social War to events of Late Republican Rome much debate exists over the nature of the conflict itself. The conflict's origin as well as the motives of the combatants remains a topic of contention. This thesis uniquely considers the outbreak of the Social War in 91 BCE as a failure of Rome's alliance management. It proposes that tactics the Romans utilised to ensure the compliance of the Italian allies ceased to function effectively at the turn of the first century. By contrasting the Romans' approach to alliance management in the fourth and third centuries with that of the second, I argue that changes within the alliance gave rise to the possibility of conflict. To incentivise compliance in the earlier period, the Romans had secured the political and economic interests of the Italic communities. This incentive was not as potent in the later period. Instead, the Romans relied on deterrence against revolt, the other major component of their alliance management, to secure compliance. This is problematic for an alliance that relied heavily on cooperation. While this change occurred within the internal structure of the Italic alliances, I demonstrate that external factors were largely responsible. The addition of non-Italic communities to the alliance network and changes in domestic politics at Rome unsettled the foundations of the Italic alliances by altering the interests of both the Romans and the Italian allies. In this way, this study reveals the need for future research on the Social War to adopt a broad focus rather than treating the conflict as an isolated product of second century Italy.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2019 the author Chapter 1.4 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print version of an article published as: Stewart, O., Citizenship as a reward or punishment? Factoring language into the Latin settlement, Antichthon, 51, 186-201

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  • Open

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